Regulators rapped over buyout

PUBLISHED : Friday, 26 September, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 26 September, 2003, 12:00am

A group of shareholders has slammed stock market regulators for a lack of interest in their bid to stop the privatisation of developer Pacific Concord Holdings.

'If one has to blame anyone for letting down the minority shareholders, it is the Securities and Futures Commission plus the stock exchange,' said Chelsea Securities director James Filmer-Wilson, who represents shareholders with about 0.6 per cent of the firm.

He said the authorities had been 'sitting on their hands'.

Mr Filmer-Wilson and his clients intend to vote for the privatisation today because they want to use the funds in other ventures.

In May, Pacific Concord chairman Wong Sai-chung proposed buying the 42.98 per cent of the firm held by independent shareholders at 65 cents a share. The offer was at a 51.16 per cent premium to the share price before the privatisation proposal. However, the offer was also a 70.29 per cent discount to net asset value which Mr Filmer-Wilson described in June as 'derisory'.

The discount was later reduced to 55.48 per cent after the net asset value was revised downwards.

'The whole way this privatisation offer was presented and done should have resulted in not just shareholders like us raising questions or trying to see what was going on,' Mr Filmer-Wilson said. '[The regulators] should have stepped in and asked very direct questions.'

The SFC says it does not comment on individual cases.